Insights & Trends

‘Inspiration from the World of Eating Out’ – Nicola Knight

October 2023

At the Casual Dining show, Nicola Knight, a senior analyst from IGD, provided valuable insights into the shifting UK food market. Her session focused on the challenges posed by inflation and changing consumer tastes. 

The UK food and drink industry is slowing due to inflation, impacting businesses. Nicola highlighted key areas: value, experience, functionality, and convenience, crucial for survival. 

Here are seven crucial steps toward success in the fiercely competitive food and drink market. 

The new value equation: 

  • Prevent “bill shock” by clearly presenting what consumers will get for their money 
  • Offer fixed-price menus to provide predictability and transparency 
  • Regularly update special offers to attract repeat business and keep the menu fresh 
  • Engage in the battle for loyalty by offering relevant rewards through loyalty schemes 
  • A remarkable 44% of eating-out loyalty scheme users who subscribe to specific operators express that they exclusively visit the restaurants they have subscribed to 

Make choices easier for consumers: 

  • Building trust with consumers through clear and honest communication is paramount 
  • Highlight offers and set clear expectations 
  • Embrace automation to streamline operations and cut costs 

Get obsessive about efficiency and productivity:  

  • Operators and retailers must adapt to changing consumer behaviours. The retail sector poses both opportunities and threats to dining establishments, as supermarkets innovate in-home offers and in-store dining experiences 
  • The rise of ghost kitchens and delivery services within supermarkets presents an intriguing opportunity to explore unique collaborations 

Attention to detail in a value-conscious market:  

  • In a climate where consumers are prioritizing special occasions and economising, reinventing the dining experience becomes essential to attract footfall 
  • As one can observe, “experience is more important than ever.”  

Measure and review:  

  • Constantly evaluate the effectiveness of strategies and initiatives 
  • Are they genuinely benefiting your business, or are they maintaining the status quo?  

Stay informed and stay ahead:  

  • Staying informed about sustainability is pivotal, as the industry grapples with climate change challenges 

Some players in the sector, like Burger King, are introducing innovative eco-friendly schemes, such as the ‘re-cup,’ which allows consumers to reuse products at multiple locations.  

In our swiftly changing world, the food and drink industry must stay flexible and responsive. Keeping up with trends and consumer needs, while managing the impact of inflation, is essential. Businesses addressing these challenges head-on will thrive. With Germany setting sustainable standards and fresh ideas emerging, the industry’s future is promising. Stay tuned to see how these insights shape the UK’s food and drink scene.